IT WAS a stand-out stat from the opening weekend that some may feel veers too closely to the Derek Adams play book.

No club in all three divisions of the EFL had the ball more than the Bantams in their first game of the season.

City’s 80 per cent possession rate against Doncaster – more than three quarters of the Valley Parade contest – beat the likes of Swansea, Burnley and MK Dons.

Centre halves Romoney Crichlow and Matty Platt completed the most passes in League Two. Bantams captain Richie Smallwood was third on the list.

But like Adams and his infamous “xG” references throughout last season, it counted for nothing in a stodgy stalemate against a Rovers side who shut down and stifled to protect their point.

On the plus side, Mark Hughes saw it as a valuable early lesson about dealing with opponents who refuse to come out to play.

City’s first away trip of the season to Barrow will be a very different affair.

The Bluebirds pulled off one of the best results on the first day with a 3-2 win at newly-promoted – and highly-fancied – Stockport. They were three up in just over half an hour.

Barrow, managed by former Halifax boss Pete Wild, will certainly be prepared to have a go.

But Hughes is still a bit mystified at why Doncaster did not do the same at Valley Parade.

He said: “I don’t really want to comment on the approach of other teams. It’s just disappointing from my point of view.

“I just felt given that Doncaster were a side that have come down from a higher league, I expected a game really.

“I suppose we can take the compliment that maybe they didn’t feel they had enough to beat us on the day.

“If they are saying that, then other teams will say it as well.”

The comical dismissal of Lee Tomlin for two yellow cards in a 17-second spell just before half-time meant Doncaster retreated even further into their shell.

But Hughes had seen little evidence of them trying to have a go up to that point anyway.

“I could understand it to a certain extent if they had gone down to 10 men and changed their approach,” he added. “But they didn’t because they tried to time-waste from the first minute.

“I was quite surprised by their approach but we’ll take it as a compliment.

“We’ve just got to make sure we have other ideas to be able to unlock the door when teams come with that low block and get people behind the ball to try and nullify our threat.

“But because it’s happened so early, I think it’s good from our point of view. We can work on things and recognise what to do when we are faced with those problems again.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mark Hughes and Glyn Hodges, left, have had plenty to think about this weekMark Hughes and Glyn Hodges, left, have had plenty to think about this week

But those smothering tactics on the road are not something Hughes will be tempted to replicate with City.

Circumstances can dictate at times but that negative mindset would not sit well with the Welshman.

“I’m sure they were patting themselves on the back that they came to Bradford City first day of the season and come away with something.

“From that point of view, it was job done. But I’m not sure I’d approach games in that manner.

“But everybody’s different and I suppose it doesn’t really matter how you do it if you get points on the board.”

Hughes and Glyn Hodges had a good look at Barrow’s success at Edgeley Park and knows the team tipped to be among the League Two strugglers again this season will be no pushovers in their first home game.

“We watched the game back and they had a fantastic first half. It was a great result for them.

“Barrow are a high energy team who look to press from the front so we’re going to have to be ready for that.

“But I still think we’ve got options and abilities in our team that will hurt them as well.”